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Pfizer in 100 day Race For Omicron Vaccine as World Seeks to Include Variant

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has spurred quite a few nations to put restrictions on vacationers from southern Africa because the race is on to develop a vaccine for the brand new type of the illness.

The World Health Organization (WHO) deemed the variant as certainly one of “concern” though President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, stated there was “no indication” the brand new coronavirus variant had reached the U.S. as but.

However, the Biden administration introduced that from Monday, it could prohibit journey from nations in southern Africa.

The restrictions apply to non-American residents touring from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

An unnamed official advised The Washington Post the restrictions had been out of “an abundance of caution.”

Meanwhile, Canada is barring all international nationals who’ve traveled by way of the identical nations, minus Malawi, inside the earlier two weeks.

Passenger Heathrow
Passengers at Heathrow Airport on November 26, 2021 in London, England. The U.Ok is amongst nations which have imposed bans on these coming from southern Africa over fears concerning the new Omicron COVID-19 variant
Leon Neal/Getty

On Saturday, Australia introduced bans on flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi, and Mozambique for the subsequent two weeks. Non-Australian residents who’ve been in these nations within the final fortnight at the moment are banned from getting into.

The first European case of the variant, referred to as B.1.1.529, was recognized in Belgium from somebody who had been in Egypt and Turkey, reasonably than southern Africa.

European Union members have agreed to limit journey from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, European Commission spokesperson Eric Mamer tweeted.

Flights to the U.Ok. from the identical nations, minus Mozambique, had been quickly suspended on Friday.

Elsewhere, Iran will ban vacationers from six southern African nations, together with South Africa whereas Japan stated these coming from most of that area would wish to quarantine for 10 days and be examined 4 occasions throughout that point.

From Monday, Sri Lanka will ban vacationers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini, an announcement from the director-general of well being providers stated, based on the Deccan Herald.

Starting from December, Thailand is not going to enable entry to these touring from eight African nations it designated as high-risk for the brand new Covid-19 variant, a senior well being official stated, cited by Reuters.

Vaccine makers assured

Although consultants are involved concerning the mutations of the brand new pressure and the dangers it poses of reinfection, vaccine producers are assured they’ll adapt their jabs if the Omicron variant spreads.

Pfizer and BioNTech stated they anticipate to have the ability to ship a brand new vaccine to sort out the rising variant in round 100 days. BioNTech stated in an announcement it had “immediately initiated investigations on variant B.1.1.529,” the opposite title for Omicron, Reuters reported.

“We expect more data from the laboratory tests in two weeks at the latest,” it stated.

Research would inform them whether or not the brand new pressure “could be an escape variant that may require an adjustment of our vaccine if the variant spreads globally.”

Moderna stated it had a “comprehensive strategy to anticipate new variants of concern” which included three ranges of response if the immunity supplied by its jabs wanes.

Meanwhile, Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, which developed the AstraZeneca vaccine, was cautiously optimistic that present vaccines might be efficient towards the Omicron variant.

“It is extremely unlikely that a reboot of a pandemic in a vaccinated population like we saw last year is going to happen,” he advised BBC Radio 4.

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